I love Daring Cooks challenges – they force me out of my comfort zone as a cook and I especially love how much I learn and grow as a cook each month. Thank you Bunnee of Anna+Food and Barbara of Barbara Bakes for this most excellent adventure!
For this month, the recipe challenge was Stacked Green Chile and Chicken Enchiladas. I grew up a few miles from the Mexican border in Tucson, Arizona. While most American kids were eating PB & J for lunch, we were eating bean burros (Yes, they were called burros, NOT burritos then). Needless to say, this challenge was right up my alley.
One requirement of the challenge was that we make “any homemade Mexican-style sauce.” I chose a Pumpkin Seed Mole that I once had at a fabulous Southwest restaurant in Santa Fe, New Mexico, the Coyote Cafe, famous for its contemporary southwest cuisine. I have been craving this sauce ever since I ate it a few years ago – and now was the perfect time to re-create it.
This “pipian verde” mole has pumpkin seeds and fresh greens as a base. It also has a surprising ingredient: radish leaves, which give it a peppery flavor. (and, YES! Radish leaves are edible!) To the Coyote Cafe recipe, I added a few jalapeÃ±os with their seeds for heat and a small can of tomatillos and onions for acid. Unlike most moles, this one has a short ingredient list and doesn’t take all day to make. A 30 minute mole – surprisingly easy and incredibly flavorful. What’s not to love?
PIPIAN VERDE MOLE (PUMPKIN SEED GREEN MOLE)
2 1/2 cups hulled pumpkin seeds
(make sure the white outer shells are removed and you use just the inner green kernel!)
1 large white onion, diced
3 cloves garlic, minced
4 tablespoons canola or peanut oil
2 – 3 cups vegetable stock
1 can (6 ounces) tomatillos and onions
2 diced jalapeÃ±os, with seeds and pulp
2 cups diced cilantro leaves
16 large Romaine lettuce leaves, center stems removed
1 handful radish leaves
2 tablespoons green Tabasco sauce
2 tablespoons honey
Salt and pepper to taste
Toast pumpkin seeds in a large dry skillet over medium heat, stirring constantly for about 5 minutes, until seeds are lightly browned and stop making aÂ popping noise. Remove from heat and set aside.
Add 2 tablespoons oil to pan and add diced onions and cook over medium heat for 3 to 4 minutes, until softened. Add garlic and cook another 2 minutes.
Blend pumpkin seeds and 2 cups of broth in food processor until a smooth paste forms. While processor is running, add in onions and garlic mixture,Â tomatillos, jalapenos, cilantro, Romaine, radish leaves, Tabasco sauce, honey and salt and pepper to taste, blending until smooth.
Heat remaining 2 tablespoons of oil in skillet to medium high heat. Add sauce and “fry” the sauce at a sizzle for 3 to 4 minutes, stirring constantly. Slowly whisk in remaining broth until sauce reaches consistency of a thick tomato sauce.
Can be used immediately or stored in an airtight container for 2 -3 weeks in refrigerator.
Stacked Green Chile and Chicken Enchiladas
Preheat oven to 450 degrees.
1. Shred the meat from a rotisserie chicken into small bits.
2. In a small skillet, heat 3 tablespoons canola oil over medium-high heat until very hot. Dip the edge of a tortilla into the oil to check â€“ it should sizzle immediately.
5. Using tongs, put a tortilla into the pan and cook until soft and lightly brown on each side, about 15-20 seconds per side (at the most).
6. Drain on paper towels.
7. Add oil as needed and continue until all 12 tortillas are done.
8. In a baking dish large enough to hold four separate stacks of tortillas, ladle a thin layer of sauce.
9. Lay four tortillas in the dish and ladle another Â½ cup (4 ounces/112 grams) of sauce over the tortillas.
10. Divide half the chicken among the first layer of tortillas, top with another Â½ cup of sauce and 1/3 of the grated Monetery Jack cheese (total of 16 ounces).
11. Stack another four tortillas, top with the rest of the chicken, more sauce and another third of the cheese.
12. Finish with the third tortilla, topped with the remaining sauce and cheese.
13. Bake until the sauce has thickened and the cheese melted, about 20 minutes. Let rest for 5-10 minutes.
14. To serve, transfer each stack to a plate. Spoon any leftover sauce over the stacks and sprinkle with cilantro, if you wish. The stacks may also be cooked in individual gratin dishes.
— posted by Donna